Giovanna Zangrandi : a life in fiction
This thesis constitutes the first detailed study of the life and works (published and unpublished) of the writer Giovanna Zangrandi (1910-1988). It is a study of the relationship between autobiography, fiction and history in her writing, in the light of recent developments in the criticism of autobiography and of feminist historiography and literary criticism. It aims to place Zangrandi's work in its historical and literary context and pays particular attention to the periods of fascism, the Resistance and neorealism. The thesis considers the nature of autobiography, and the implications of women writing about themselves, and analyses Zangrandi's use of autobiography, highlighting the inevitable intrusion of fiction into such writing. It uses that analysis, along with material including Zangrandi's unpublished diaries and testimonies of people who knew her, to write a biography of Zangrandi and to examine the way that she writes about the fascist period and the Resistance. The question of representing real life in fiction, rather than autobiography, is also discussed, with reference to Zangrandi's first novel and to neorealism. It is shown that, as well as her constant interest in the lives of women, her attitude to history and traditions of the Cadore, the mountainous region in the north of the Veneto, where she lived all her adult life and where nearly all her novels, short stories and autobiography are set, is of considerable importance. Her writing about the Cadore can be seen both as an attempt to write herself into those traditions, and as a means of expressing her commitment to improving society. Moreover, it is argued, her commitment takes the form of both autobiography and fiction as her concern to write about lived experience is balanced by a constant interest in the story-telling tradition of the Cadore and an interpretation of fiction that judges it to be an integral part of everyday life.